Usually when we hear the word “running”, it evokes either one of two responses: excitement or apprehension. It’s often an exercise associated with being extremely fit and active, not for the timid. We picture marathon runners and those 5 AMers getting a workout in well before the rest of their day starts. While we admire those people greatly, the purpose of this article is to encourage those of us who want to start a habit of running, but might not know where to start. The good news is this: no matter who you are, running is an exercise you can do at your own pace (literally and figuratively).
The good news is this: no matter who you are, running is an exercise you can do at your own pace (literally and figuratively).
The Case for Running
Running is an incredible, full body workout; it can be challenging but the benefits are well worth it. It’s one of the best cardiovascular exercises there is; running only a few minutes a day has the potential to increase lung capacity and strengthen the heart. The Journal of American College of Cardiology even goes so far as to say that running can actually add years to your life since it’s such a powerful tool in fighting off chronic diseases. And, what's good for the heart, lungs and immune system is also good for the skin. Creating a ritual of running will make you look and feel more vibrant and youthful.
And, what's good for the heart, lungs and immune system is also good for the skin. Creating a ritual of running will make you look and feel more vibrant and youthful.
Running has the power to boost our mood and help us better cope with stress. In just the first few steps, our brains are flooded with uplifting endorphins that calm our mind and promote feelings of gratitude and peace. Sprinkle in some "Vitamin N" (running in nature) and community (running with friends) and the mental health benefits increase even more.
So, there's no better time than now to hit the treadmill or - better yet - call a friend, find a trail and move your body at the pace that works for you. The first few runs will be difficult but don't give up, with some consistency and commitment you'll soon view your time running as a calming meditation that resets your body, mind and skin for the day.
If you’re someone who’s looking to get started with running, don’t be afraid to take it slow and set easy goals in the beginning. Try running for a short period of time each day consistently and over time, increase either the minutes or distance; whichever you find more motivating. Even if it’s for 1 more minute or 0.1 more miles, celebrate knowing you’re working towards creating a daily ritual that will transform you physically and mentally. Like most things in life, consistency is the key to unlocking the physical and mental health benefits of running.
Like most things in life, consistency is the key to unlocking the physical and mental health benefits of running.
Running a small amount a few days a week is better than trying to complete one longer run on the weekend. Don't overdo it. Although running has many health benefits, there is also risk of injury - most of which can be avoided by starting slow and only adding time, distance and increasing pace after you've built a solid base.
If you feel sluggish and unmotivated, you probably won't stick with running. You can combat these feelings by eating real food, hydrating and protecting your sleep. Don't think of running as a singular activity instead, use it as an anchor for building other healthy practices into your life.
If you’ve ever been “running curious”, no matter who you are, getting started is something that can be both fun and easy. It’s for anyone who has a desire to live a healthier lifestyle, be part of a community and to look and feel more vibrant.
See you on the trails.